Sziget, which on a sold-out day would be equal to Hungary’s 5th most populated city, year-to-year aims to emphasize the importance of sustainability, minimize waste, and move towards green solutions, according to organizers at a round table meeting held in one of the 2019’s edition new locations, Green Sziget Center.
On Thursday, before the short but inspiring main stage lecture of famed ethologist Jane Goodall, a round table was organised at Green Sziget Center, named “Sustainable Sziget.” Sziget CEO Tamás Kádár, the festival’s Sustainability Manager for 17 years Ákos Dominus, and Dorka Bauer, Climate-KIC Alumni discussed how Sziget was moving towards this goal.
In the beginning, Dominus explained that two reasons motivate the decision: the first is Sziget’s obvious impact on the environment, and the second, competitiveness, as festival-goers expect this and would easily turn their backs on the festival otherwise. “Sziget is not just a festival, it has to stand out,” they agreed.
Dominus also talked about reusable cups, which are already in use at almost all major Hungarian festivals. “Last year we replaced one and a half million single-use cups with a few hundred thousand reusable ones,” he revealed, adding, that “this year, Sziget will cut plastic waste by 3 million cups, and the number is rising every year.” In addition, Green Sziget Center also advertises to collect tents, sleeping bags, and mats after use and potentially give them away for charity.
Bauer confirmed that this year more preparation has been made by Sziget. Kádár repeated that festival-goers do expect them to do more and they always want to see more. He also revealed that convincing caterers is the most difficult step when it comes to switching to environment-friendlier solutions, such as the ban on plastic bags or not to give out straws automatically. Also, conditions and infrastructure in Hungary “are not always available or appropriately established,” he said. In addition, laws are also too strict at places, he added, bringing up water taps, as an example, as they have to be officially checked one-by-one.
Kádár claimed that Sziget potentially becoming plastic-free is still a few years away. Dominus further explained that Sziget is just “too big” to turn it into a totally waste-free festival.
image: Hungary Today
Kádár also revealed that Sziget organizers are obliged to take care of Sziget’s location, Hajógyári Island all year round: “if you see newly-planted trees, that was us.” And the humus material made in collective composting labs will also be used during the re-cultivation of the island.
This year, Sziget launched the ‘Green Sziget’ sustainability program, aiming to minimize the festival’s potential negative impact on the natural world. This includes a new location, Green Sziget Center, where Szitizens can attend diverse workshops, talks, and performances. For further information, you can click here.
images: Sziget Festival Official